LINCOLN POST-ASSASSINATION BODY COUNT
Suspicious Deaths and Circumstances
LAFAYETTE BAKER: In his book, *History of the United States
Secret Service* (1867), Baker "recalled many of the
post-assassination blunders which [Edwin] Stanton would most
certainly have preferred to remain forgotten. More embarrassing
to Stanton, it aroused new interest in [John Wilkes] Booth's
suppressed diary which, Baker claimed, had been mutilated since
it had left his possession." (*Anatomy of an Assassination* by
John Cottrell. New York: Funk & Wagnalls, 1966) The existence
of Booth's diary had been kept secret. Baker's book revealed its
existence. The disclosure created a storm in Congress: Why had
it been hidden? Booth's diary was recovered from the War
Department, but 18 pages were missing. (See CN 3.90) In the
previous issue of Conspiracy Nation (CN 11.20) is shown how Baker
seems to have persisted in trying to expose a wide conspiracy
involving Stanton and other very powerful persons as behind the
death of Abraham Lincoln. Baker feared for his life. In 1867 he
was "shot at and attacked by someone with a knife on several
occasions." (Cottrell) In December of 1867, Baker was shot at
and injured by splinters caused by the bullet striking the door
of his carriage. By early January of 1868, Baker was complaining
of being under constant surveillance. This surveillance was
confirmed by his physician; according to Dr. William Rickards, "I
saw a man who was skulking up an alley and carefully watching
General Baker... As I walked along the street I saw another man
step from an alley further down the street... They were
definitely following the General." (qtd. in Cottrell) Baker died
in 1868. He may have been poisoned. Here is part of Dr.
Rickard's testimony (qtd. in Cottrell):
Q: Did his symptoms fit the symptoms observed with any
Q: Which poison?
Q: In other words, the symptoms shown by General Baker
show more similarity to arsenic poisoning than they do
to typhoid fever?
Q: Is it then possible that General Baker died of arsenic
A: From a medical standpoint, yes. But I know that he was
Q: How do you know this?
A: No one had the opportunity.
MAJOR HENRY RATHBONE AND CLARA HARRIS: They accompanied Mr. and
Mrs. Lincoln to Ford's Theater on the fatal evening of April 14,
1865. (The occupants of the box at Ford's Theater did not number
four, but five. The fifth occupant of the box was Charles
Forbes, Lincoln's footman and personal attendant. See books by
Otto Eisenschiml.) Rathbone later married Ms. Harris, then later
murdered her. Major Rathbone was committed to a lunatic asylum,
where he remained for the rest of his life.
PRESTON KING AND SENATOR JAMES HENRY LANE: Mrs. Mary Surratt,
scapegoated as one of the prime conspirators, was sentenced to
death by hanging. Her daughter, Anna Surratt, tried to reach
President Andrew Johnson at the White House to petition for
clemency. On July 7, 1865 -- execution day -- Anna Surratt,
weeping for mercy, threw herself on the White House stairs. She
was turned away by King and Lane. It is likely that, had Anna
Surratt been able to see Johnson, clemency for Mrs. Mary Surratt
would have been granted. Conditional to the death sentence
pronounced against Mrs. Surratt was a provision that a petition
for mercy would be attached and sent to President Andrew Johnson.
But Johnson later said he had never received any such petition.
Writes Cottrell, "Some person or persons were apparently
determined that Mary Surratt should not live." As to King and
Lane, who had roadblocked the weeping Anna Surratt from seeing
President Johnson: Four months after July 7, 1865, Preston King
tied weights to himself, jumped off a ferry boat, and drowned.
Eight months after July 7, 1865, Senator Lane shot himself.
JOHN WILKES BOOTH: There's no question that Booth shot Lincoln.
There is much doubt, however, whether it was indeed Booth who was
subsequently shot dead by Sergeant Boston Corbett at Garrett's
Farm on April 26, 1865. (Corbett, later employed as a doorman by
the Kansas State Legislature, brought two revolvers to work and
opened fire on the legislators. He was committed to an insane
asylum, escaped, then disappeared.) The real John Wilkes Booth
most likely committed suicide at Enid, Oklahoma, in June of 1903.
(See past issues of Conspiracy Nation, e.g., CN 3.89, 3.90,
3.91.) Descendants of Booth obviously had doubts whether it was
really Booth buried in "Booth's grave": in June of 1995, a
Baltimore judge refused permission to exhume the supposed body of
Booth. "Twenty-two descendants of the Booth family asked for the
exhumations after being contacted by attorneys for two
researchers who have spent years challenging history books that
say Booth died of gunshot wounds outside a burning barn in
Caroline County, Va., on April 26, 1865." (Washington Times
National Weekly Edition, June 5-11, 1995)
LOUIS PAINE: On April 17, 1865, Louis Paine, a common laborer,
innocently knocked on the front door of Mrs. Mary Surratt's
boarding-house. Perhaps some work needed to be done, thought
Paine. But poor Mr. Paine knocked at the wrong door at the wrong
time. Government detectives investigating the Lincoln
assassination were on the premises. Paine was arrested and later
charged with conspiring to assassinate Lincoln, Vice-President
Andrew Johnson, General Grant, and Secretary of State Seward.
Writes Vaughan Shelton in *Mask for Treason* (Stackpole Books,
Harrisburg, PA, 1965), "Even today, a century later , his
[Paine's] image is unchanged from that given him by the
prosecution at the Conspiracy Trial: A homicidal, half-witted
brute without a flicker of remorse... But the persistence of the
prejudice against this young man for a full century... is a
phenomenon of mass thought-conditioning that has no parallel...
Of the eight defendants at the Conspiracy Trial HE WAS THE MOST
MRS. MARY TODD LINCOLN: President Lincoln's widow believed that
there had been a larger conspiracy, a plot within a plot, behind
her husband's death. "Ever since her husband's murder, Mary had
been convinced that John Wilkes Booth was part of a larger
conspiracy." ("Mary Lincoln's Insanity File," broadcast on The
Discovery Channel (TDC), 12/29/96) She was far from alone in this
belief: "It was widely believed in 1865 and during the years
that followed that President Lincoln was the victim of a gigantic
conspiracy. Many held that he had been betrayed by his own
government. Far fewer accepted the official explanation that his
death was merely the work of a mentally disturbed actor and a
tiny band of fanatical conspirators." (Cottrell, inside jacket
cover) On June 30, 1865, when the military tribunal reached its
verdict and sentenced David E. Herold, Louis Paine, Mrs. Surratt,
and George A. Atzerodt to be hung, a crowd of citizens outside
responded to the verdict with angry shouts of "Judicial murder!"
Mrs. Lincoln, a potential voice to challenge the cover-up, was
savagely attacked by the newspapers. Said the Chicago Journal,
"She is insane." Mrs. Lincoln is quoted as follows (TDC): "A
piece in the Morning Tribune says there is no doubt I'm deranged,
have been for years past, and will end up in a lunatic asylum."
But an expert on the TDC program says now that Mary's so-called
"insanity" was in a 19th-century context: "We're talking about a
society that's getting less and less willing to deal with
eccentrics... For some reason, this sense of tolerance
disappears in the United States." By around 1875, Mrs. Lincoln
was "hearing strange voices" and had "fears of murder." She had
reportedly said to her son, Robert Lincoln, "You're going to
murder me." Through treachery and trickery involving her son,
Robert, and others, Mary Lincoln was involuntarily committed to
an insane asylum. But within 10 months, thanks largely to the
efforts of a pioneering female attorney in Illinois, Myra
Bradwell, Mary Lincoln was released. Said Bradwell: "She is no
more insane than you or I." Mary Lincoln died, a recluse, in
Springfield, Illinois, on July 16, 1882.
(This has been a preliminary report. Other names may be added in
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